Newell Brands
Best Project

Owner: Newell Rubbermaid
Lead Design Firm: Perkins + Will
Contractor: Choate Construction Co.
Electrical Contractor: Wayne J. Griffin Electric
Mechanical Contractor: Legacy Mechanical Services

Renovating the 100,000-sq-ft building into a distinctive corporate headquarters proved to be a race against time as the project team was tasked with opening the new corporate headquarters on the same day that Newell Rubbermaid completed its merger with Jarden Corp. That left little room for error in tackling a host of construction challenges.

But a strict schedule would not justify compromised quality. Throughout the project, Choate would hold all subcontractors to the same quality standards, mandating that the first 10 square feet or linear feet of any scope undergo full review and approval by the project superintendent, owner and architect before continuing. Products that did not meet those quality standards would be ripped out and restarted.

With a new steel structure needed to support a fully furnished rooftop party deck and 7,000-sq-ft green roof, contractors would have to create new shear walls by adding more than 1 million pounds of concrete to the building’s diaphragm. Creating space for the formwork would require removing several existing walls and stairways, but the aggressive project schedule afforded insufficient time to safely relocate the building’s electric service.

Choate’s solution was to “slip form” the walls, essentially sliding the forms into place behind the electrical service. Close coordination from initial planning through inspection of the final pour prevented any concrete blow-outs or safety risks, allowing rooftop construction to get underway as soon as the new structural system passed inspection.

Another time-sensitive challenge involved the building’s new decorative stairway, composed of hundreds of small tubes at different depths to indicate the specific floor level. Choate cut a large opening through each floor, adding tens of thousands of pounds of steel to strengthen the slabs. All of these structural improvements were completed at the same time as crews were installing Class A finishes. But because the stairway was the last major component scheduled for installation, new finishes had to be brought as close as possible to the openings, requiring many subcontractors to work at elevation.

As the clock ticked down to the project’s scheduled completion date, workers painstakingly hand-installed the stairway’s intricate components. Meanwhile, work proceeded nonstop to put the finishing touches on the building’s many other high-end elements. In what might be the construction equivalent of a photo finish, Bo Webb, Choate senior superintendent, says the new headquarters received its temporary certificate of occupancy “with just 14 minutes to spare” to enable Newell to move in on the day it completed its merger.

Related Article: Projects Shine With Construction Savvy